Whether to wear a breast form (prosthesis) after breast surgery is a very personal decision. Some women feel better about themselves when their clothes fit just as they did before surgery. Other women feel comfortable just as they are.
You can buy these forms already made, or they can be custom-made from a mold of your chest.
You may want to wear a breast form if:
A wide variety of breast forms and accessories—from mastectomy bras to stick-on nipples—are available to a woman who has had one or both breasts removed or who has had part of a breast removed. They come in many different shapes, colors, and materials, depending on what you need.
Custom-made breast forms
A custom-made form is made by making a mold of your chest area so that the form will fit your chest and body exactly. Because of the extra work involved, custom-made breast forms cost much more than ready-made forms. Your insurance may not cover this extra cost.
Your local American Cancer Society chapter can help you find companies that make custom-made breast forms. You can also find companies on the Internet.
Breast forms can be worn with regular bras, but you may have trouble keeping them in place. You can make or buy pockets that you sew into your regular bras to keep the form from moving around.
Or you can buy mastectomy bras. These special bras now come in almost as many styles and colors as regular bras do. They have built-in pockets to hold all types of breast forms.
Some breast forms can be attached directly to the skin, using special glue or tape. They can stay on for several days at a time.
There are many styles of swimsuits now for women who have had breast surgery. The suits have built-in pockets for breast forms.
Check to see if your insurance will cover the cost of a prosthesis and mastectomy bra. Many policies do.
You can find breast forms at most surgical supply stores and lingerie stores—and even the lingerie departments of some department stores. Breast forms can also be purchased over the Internet.
Most experts recommend getting the help of a trained fitter. When you go for a fitting, wear a close-fitting top so that you can really see how the breast form looks and moves.
Take a partner or good friend with you for a second opinion and support.
June 28, 2011
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
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